Joshua Bell *Essential* ????

unclecheeks

Active Member
I think the dynamics are controlled via velocity and mod wheel is the vibrato...isn't this how the full version works also?
Don’t recall exactly, but I think that’s correct. I like being able to craft arcs by swelling sustained notes in and out (and additional vibrato sculpting). My understanding is that this isn’t possible with the JB, at least the crossfading between dynamic layers bit.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
Don’t recall exactly, but I think that’s correct. I like being able to craft arcs by swelling sustained notes in and out (and additional vibrato sculpting). My understanding is that this isn’t possible with the JB, at least the crossfading between dynamic layers bit.
Ah, then this is a no go for me...don't want to be that limited then.
 

ism

Senior Member
Ah, then this is a no go for me...don't want to be that limited then.
Yep, there's no cross fade at all.

But listen to a track like this:



It does use the pre-recored de/cresendos to good effect in adding dynamics.

But more to the point, there's no way to do crossfades perfectly for solo strings. You can either crossfade in the manor of Spitfire (which I love, but is kind of bumpy when exposed), or you can do phase alignment (ie. Fischer , Hein) which comes at a cost to the tone.

But the JB is all about the maintaining an uncompromising pristine, virtuosic tone at all costs. Cross fade would have compromised that. So all in all, I think it was wise deign choice to never compromise the tone.

But it would be nice to have that dimension of expression.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
But listen to a track like this
This is the full version no? I think it's far advanced from what you can achieve with the Essentials though. The tone might be the same, but without the extra articulations to give it life, I am not sure it's worth getting...especially now since there are no dynamic crossfades.
 

ism

Senior Member
This is the full version no? I think it's far advanced from what you can achieve with the Essentials though. The tone might be the same, but without the extra articulations to give it life, I am not sure it's worth getting...especially now since there are no dynamic crossfades.
Yes, that demo is the full version. (It did appear to be on the essential page at one point ... but upon reflection think that might have been an error when during the APD screw up before the release.)

I don't know if the de/crescends are included in the essential version.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
Yes, that demo is the full version. (It did appear to be on the essential page at one point ... but upon reflection think that might have been an error when during the APD screw up before the release.)

I don't know if the de/crescends are included in the essential version.
wish there was more info on it...yes its cheap, but still, once the intro promo ends, it's still limited. I think this essential violin came about after the SF virtuoso violin was broken off...that's also $99, but I think the JBE may be more bang for the buck. BTW, I have the full SF solo strings and that virtuoso isn't worth it...don't like it at all personally.
 

unclecheeks

Active Member
BTW, I have the full SF solo strings and that virtuoso isn't worth it...don't like it at all personally.
I think I agree with you on that point. Not very pleased with the SF Solo Strings overall, but part of it is probably my fault too. I was hoping the close mic would give me a more intimate sound but it’s pretty bad. Almost sounds completely mono to me, and still too much room. And the dynamics/vibrato crossfading isn’t really my cup of tea, pretty bumpy affair. However, I’ve managed to get some decent results blending them with the Embertone ISS strings actually, so I think I’ll still find some use for them.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
I think I agree with you on that point. Not very pleased with the SF Solo Strings overall, but part of it is probably my fault too. I was hoping the close mic would give me a more intimate sound but it’s pretty bad. Almost sounds completely mono to me, and still too much room. And the dynamics/vibrato crossfading isn’t really my cup of tea, pretty bumpy affair. However, I’ve managed to get some decent results blending them with the Embertone ISS strings actually, so I think I’ll still find some use for them.
Best use I’ve found is the first desk added to drier ensemble strings give a lot more depth to the sound. They’re not exposed solos but as first chairs they might do well.
 

ism

Senior Member
As even, the point I would make, it makes no sense to compare sampled solo violins without a sense of the expressive space you're looking for.


Spitfire and JB (both of which I bought pretty much instantly on their release) are equally spectacular doing what they do best - and equally terrible outside of their respective sweet spots. They're designed for very different expressive spaces, on all kinds of level (artistic, stylistic, ensemble vs solo, plus the sonority and engineering).


So "Bang for the buck" is a metric that I don't think means anything without adding a lot of context .

JB is more plonkable right out of the box though, and offers more instant gratification. The spitfire Virtuosic Vl by its nature lets you craft performances with much more expressive control in the dynamics. A consequence plus of this is that you have to learn to craft performances - ie its also possible to craft bad performances in these dimension. So it's got poor plonkabiliy, but a little work on how to craft the performances really pays off.

I'm just very happy to have both (and just picked up Emotional Violin too, with opens up a whole other expressive space again, even more orthogonal to the JB and SF instruments that I original thought).
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
As even, the point I would make, it makes no sense to compare sampled solo violins without a sense of the expressive space you're looking for.


Spitfire and JB (both of which I bought pretty much instantly on their release) are equally spectacular doing what they do best - and equally terrible outside of their respective sweet spots. They're designed for very different expressive spaces, on all kinds of level (artistic, stylistic, ensemble vs solo, plus the sonority and engineering).


So "Bang for the buck" is a metric that I don't think means anything without adding a lot of context .

JB is more plonkable right out of the box though, and offers more instant gratification. The spitfire Virtuosic Vl by its nature lets you craft performances with much more expressive control in the dynamics. A consequence plus of this is that you have to learn to craft performances - ie its also possible to craft bad performances in these dimension. So it's got poor plonkabiliy, but a little work on how to craft the performances really pays off.

I'm just very happy to have both (and just picked up Emotional Violin too, with opens up a whole other expressive space again, even more orthogonal to the JB and SF instruments that I original thought).
Yes, I spent yesterday trying to sculpt the lowest dynamic layer in the JB Violin. It was quite resistant to the performance I wanted and would have been a relatively simple matter to coax out of one of the SF violins. I’m still learning the JB so maybe I’m missing something but I suspect the behavior I got is what the instrument is designed to deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I very much like the JB Violin and it is far more versatile than I had feared. But it is nevertheless optimized for certain things and those things appear to come at the cost of other things.
 

bfreepro

Infinite Musical Possibilites
Don’t recall exactly, but I think that’s correct. I like being able to craft arcs by swelling sustained notes in and out (and additional vibrato sculpting). My understanding is that this isn’t possible with the JB, at least the crossfading between dynamic layers bit.
It's possible to do this, even with the essential version. Just go to "Control" and then there will be options to adjust dynamics with modwheel/cc01, etc. I was surprised how many features this has for an "essential"version, I don't even use most of the articulations from the full version except legato and spiccato anyway lol.
 

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jaketanner

Senior Member
It's possible to do this, even with the essential version. Just go to "Control" and then there will be options to adjust dynamics with modwheel/cc01, etc. I was surprised how many features this has for an "essential"version, I don't even use most of the articulations from the full version except legato and spiccato anyway lol.
Where it says vibrato amount...from what I saw, it's just an on/off thing right? I mean there is no crossfading between how much vibrato you can have is there?
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
The other thing that strikes me as a bit odd, is that there are no demos anywhere of what the Essential has to offer except the one video on the Embertone site...not the greatest though. Nothing on YT either. Had Embertone did a proper walkthrough of this, I bet many more people would be getting it right now instead of having second thoughts about how scaled down it is.,,at least I am.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Where it says vibrato amount...from what I saw, it's just an on/off thing right? I mean there is no crossfading between how much vibrato you can have is there?
Not quite. From the manual (full version):

Controlled via the modwheel by default, the Vibrato slider is one of the most important elements of the instrument. At the lowest position, non-vibrato samples are triggered. New notes that are performed when the slider is 50% or above will result in Joshua Bell’s Natural Vibrato. If you play a new note with the slider below 50%, you can manipulate the non-vibrato samples with our Simulated Vibrato. Note that once a natural vibrato sample is triggered, it cannot transition back to a non-vibrato sample - and conversely, a non-vibrato sample cannot transition to natural vibrato.​

So you can add simulated vibrato to the non-vib samples, but they don't crossfade (and I really think you wouldn't want a crossfade between vib and nonvib—there's a good reason that the SF vibrato is on/off for the solo instruments even if it makes the vibrato a challenge to master on those instruments)r. I haven't yet worked enough with the instrument to know how well this works in practice, but I'm sure others will chime in.
 

bfreepro

Infinite Musical Possibilites
The other thing that strikes me as a bit odd, is that there are no demos anywhere of what the Essential has to offer except the one video on the Embertone site...not the greatest though. Nothing on YT either. Had Embertone did a proper walkthrough of this, I bet many more people would be getting it right now instead of having second thoughts about how scaled down it is.,,at least I am.
I
The other thing that strikes me as a bit odd, is that there are no demos anywhere of what the Essential has to offer except the one video on the Embertone site...not the greatest though. Nothing on YT either. Had Embertone did a proper walkthrough of this, I bet many more people would be getting it right now instead of having second thoughts about how scaled down it is.,,at least I am.

That's literally me haha. I had no manual and had a version that was not even for the Kontakt player yet. I'll admit these Black Friday videos were more just entertainment and too really hear what it sounds like just right out of the box as opposed to totally diving deep as a walkthru or tutorial. It's just missing some articulations. It's amazing for the price. I consider myself a sample junkie, and this is easily in the top 3 kontakt libraries I've ever used in my entire life, and I own thousands. I use virtual instruments every day as a full time composer but never once while playing the Essential version did I think "oh wow I really miss this from the full.." not saying that full isn't worth it, but it just shows you HOW in depth both products are, if the essential version gives you so much.

Full Disclosure: Yes I work with Audio Plugin Deals but no I don't make commissions and honestly don't care who buys it or not, but from my personal experience, either version of this instrument is absolutely superb. If I didn't own it already I'd just buy the essential, and if you really feel you need more, there's a crossgrade as well for when you want to upgrade.
 

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Embertone

Senior Member
I'm still torn if the Essential JB is useable for a solid solo performance. I most likely wouldn't use many articulations anyway...if it's that much work MIDI-wise, I'd just hire a live violinist...but for a simple mockup to get the idea across...is it good for that? Will I miss staccato or is spiccato good enough? And lastly, is the vibrato very over the top that it can't really do normal, less expressive passages well? Listening to the full version of JB isn't fair since you can control the amount of vibrato...Essential it's on or off. Thanks again.
(1) We think the spiccato is the more usable articulation. Crisp and short. In my work I use it more often than not
(2) The vibrato is not over the top at all -- super usable... Though obviously my opinion will be biased here
(3) Just to correct you -- you CAN control the amount of vibrato with both versions of the JBV. We combined our scripted vibrato with Mr. Bell's legit vibrato. So you get the best of both worlds there.

In terms of dynamics, we decided not to go down the road of processing these samples that way, because they would squeeze the natural sound out. So though there isn't the possibility to crossfade from a PP to an FF in one bow, you can use our dynamic modulation fx which sound great in most situations, and also, if you absolutely need to move up in "legit" dynamics, you can do a rebow to the new dynamic level.

The full version of the JBV does feature contour sustains, FYI. So there it is possible to hear Mr. Bell's real dynamic modulation in different levels.

-Alex
 

bfreepro

Infinite Musical Possibilites
wish there was more info on it...yes its cheap, but still, once the intro promo ends, it's still limited. I think this essential violin came about after the SF virtuoso violin was broken off...that's also $99, but I think the JBE may be more bang for the buck. BTW, I have the full SF solo strings and that virtuoso isn't worth it...don't like it at all personally.
The Joshua Bell (even essential) is the most Virtuoso sounding kontakt library I've ever used, for any instrument, not even just for violin. It blows the Spitfire Performance Violin out of the water.